Backus Bennies


Cinema theme delivers action-packed punch to donor event

Backus rolled out the red carpet for donors Thursday, thanking them with a Hollywood-style event that highlighted programs and services made possible by their generosity.

The Backus Bennies honored their contributions toward putting Eastern Connecticut on the road to better health. Benefactors were invited to fasten their seatbelts, grab onto their strap-holders and secure their valuables as they traveled along the Backus community health journey over the last 12 months.


Breaking the mold of ordinary donor events, the Backus Business and Technology Center was transformed to echo Hollywood’s Oscars with cinema clips and movie-themed banners of Backus programs and services.  Guests were dressed in their finest gowns, suits and tuxedos, and awards were given out for best supporting roles in Backus initiatives.

Backus ambassadors were on-hand to chat with curious guests about the programs and services their gifts helped to fund.

Debuted at the event, the Backus CareVan was called a “fast-paced thrill ride with an A-list ensemble.”

A mini health center on wheels, the CareVan is equipped with medical technology and clinicians to provide targeted health care in communities that need it most.

Leading up to the official unveiling of the CareVan, Backus President and Chief Executive Officer, Dave Whitehead said, “At Backus, we have long known that the most efficient care is the sort that helps keep people healthy, rather than treating them when they get sick. It’s an important distinction.  Because — while what happens in the hospital or a health center is undeniably important — we also know that we could be far more effective, and help lower the overall cost of care, if we give people the tools they need to actually prevent illness.”

Tagged as a “masterpiece of ingenuity, and the best feel good experience of the year,” the Boutique at Backus will offer cancer patients goods and services to assist them in healing mind, body and soul — as well as products to enhance comfort and appearance while undergoing treatment at the Backus Cancer Center. The boutique is currently under construction in the Medical Office Building.

Backus’ own “Top Director,” Tony Joyce, Chairman of the Board said, “At Backus we have producers, too — leadership givers who, year after year, make magic happen.  Last year we honored our top producers — the Backus Auxiliary and the Edward and Mary Lord Foundation — with well-deserved Backus Bennies Awards.  This year, to start our celebrations, please join me in a rousing appreciation for what our Producers have made possible.”

Honoring the highest achievements in philanthropy and charitable giving for the second year in a row, the Bennies paid tribute to:

  • The Backus Auxiliary and the Mary Lord Foundation received the Director’s Tribute for their significant ongoing support that paves the path for better care.
  • The Chelsea Groton Foundation and the Jewett City Savings Bank Foundation received the Partners in Care award for providing a roadmap to expanded care and community outreach.
  • The Seder family received the 2013 Backus Heritage Award for a “powerful drive” in the Laura Beth Seder Memorial Golf Tournament, which supports breast health.
  • Gus Kontoudikas received the Community Champion award for steering the community campaign for the Plainfield Backus Emergency Care Center.
  • The Bridges After-School Program at the Stanton Elementary School received the Young Philanthropists award for hitting the road with their Pink Walk for Cancer program.

“We depend so much on our donors, and this event is one small way for us to say thank you on behalf of a grateful community,” said Genevieve Schies, Director of the Backus Office of Philanthropy and Development.  “Our patients benefit directly from their generosity. We could not provide high quality, innovative healthcare without our benefactors.”

By the end of the evening, it was safe to say that the Backus Bennies left guests feeling empowered and engaged in our region’s health, wanting to give back to a community that gives us so much. Keith Fontaine, Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer concluded, “Thank you for keeping Eastern Connecticut on the road to better health — and helping Backus provide the resources to get us there.”